Thursday, November 08, 2007

Glycobiology debate: industrial sponsorships and peer review issues

The journal Science gets into a fight between glycobiologists on one side and the company Mannatech on the other, in part pertaining to a scientific meeting in Dublin which was partly sponsored by Mannatech. There was an editorial by Ronald Schnaar [Hopkins] and Hudson Freeze [Burnham] in the journal Glycobiology (published by Oxford University Press), which was removed, possibly because it was not properly peer-reviewed. The Science article noted that John Axford, until recently a Mannatech board member, stated that Mannatech's support of the meeting is no different from drug company money that funds other scientific meetings. The pro-Mannatech people want complementary medicine people included in meetings. The Science article notes that in 1994 Congress passed a law that companies can sell dietary supplements without appropval by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] as long as they don't claim any therapeutic benefit. Separately, there are issues in the manner Mannatech has cited the work of scientists. [See 318 Science 734]

The journal Science mentions the possibility of a new California research body, the California Institute for Climate Solutions, to be a 10 year, $600 million initiative financed by a $1 per month incerase in electricity rates. Gee, and California taxpayers still have to pay for Proposition 71 and stem cell research! [See 318 Science 730]

The journal Science addresses issues of food allergies in a NewsFocus piece titled "Testing the Line Between Too Much and Too Little." It notes that peanut allergies have roughly doubled in the last 10 years, and affect at least 1% of young children. The article got into the Isle of Wight experiment by Hasan Arshad of the University of Southampton, in which there was a test involving limited exposure to allergens. 318 Science 740.

The November 2, 2007 issue of Science has both a comment upon, and a response thereto, pertaining to an article written by Frank Weinhold who taught first year physical chemistry at Stanford University long, long ago. Of his work, Weinhold wrote: Our Perspective sought to address the fundamental question, "How many bonds can be made between atoms." Weinhold, now at Wisconsin, points to a prediction of Cr-Cr quintuple bonding, and subsequent confirmation (T. Nguyen, et al., 310 Science 844 (2005)). One recalls that F. A. Cotton was "into" the matter of multiple metal-metal bonds. [refer to 318 Science 748]


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